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Women's Volleyball - BUCS Takeover 02/02/2016

Over the past 3 years, GCU Women’s Volleyball has risen from sporting obscurity to the top of their game and a place amongst the top teams in the UK.

In February 2013, the team finished the year with no wins from 7 fixtures and relegation to the bottom division of the Scottish region. The following year, the girls achieved a respectable mid table finish but showed the signs of things to come by claiming the Scottish Conference Cup with a dramatic 3-2 win over local rivals Strathclyde.

Last year saw the girls promoted to Division 2A and the girls continued their fine cup form in to the higher division by dominating from the outset and taking the league title by storm with 5 wins from 5 games played. This was then followed by the successful defence of their Conference Cup title where they thrashed Abertay 3-0 at Cup Finals Day at the University of Dundee.

2015/16 has seen the team continue their fine form with big wins over Edinburgh and Stirling seeing the girls sat second in 1A, just 3 points behind local rivals Glasgow. The girls also had their first experience of British competition when they recently travelled to the UK’s second city, Birmingham, to take on Aston University in the last 32 of the BUCS Trophy. After a 6 hour trip the girls did not disappoint and recorded a dominant 3-0 win over the Midlands side to record Glasgow Caledonians first victory over English opponents in Women’s Volleyball. The victory sets the girls on the road again in the last 16 with a trip to Liverpool to come in February.

Captain, Lauren Ramage, and club president, Katrina Bevan, (now fourth year students) have been members of GCU Women's Volleyball since first year and have shared their experiences.

Lauren Ramage: I remember turning up to training on the first week of first year wondering if this was even volleyball training. Everyone seemed pretty laid back with no one really taking charge. The current captain at the time came up to me and asked if I had played before and after  mentioning how I had played for 4 years previously I was instantly thrown into the deep end and asked to take the drills and teach newcomers who had never played before. Throughout the weeks we got more structure to our training with more people willing to step up and help out, although a win was still unrealistic as we struggled to have a full team show up to matches. Through more advertising of our club in Fresher's Fayres, etc. we managed to get more players, specifically experienced Canadian players who have come over to Glasgow for their masters and have had a tremendous impact on our club. This greater number of volleyball players greatly helped our training move more smoothly and built up our confidence and performance in matches. One training session I decided to teach the girls proper volleyball rotations as these are vital for a match in terms of being able to play ones proper position (and we must have been the only university not to play rotations). After that we started to perform better in games with people playing to their specialty and slowly but surely the club was making progress. It has been little adjustments like this, the recruitment of new experienced players, and the weekly commitment and effort from certain players, that have all transformed our club into what it is today. It took a long time and a lot of effort but now our club is the biggest it has ever been and we have gone from struggling to being able to get a full team to having enough strong and experienced players to make 2 teams. The difference between my first week at training in first year to the training sessions now in fourth year is unbelievable. It is something I am extremely proud of and is certainly one of my biggest achievements of my university career and I hope to see it remain a strong, welcoming and prosperous club in the years to come.

Katrina Bevan:  At my first ever sports ball, in which I sat with volleyball (both men and women managed to fit on one table the club was that small) I realised that sport at Caley could actually be competitive.  After a very unsuccessful year with the volleyball team I had given up on the hope of winning, however seeing the Gaelic Women’s team win team of the year spurred me on and made me realise that I wanted to bring back that competitive side of sport that had been lost.  I remember turning to Lauren (our current captain, however at the time my fellow first year) and saying to her that one day we should try and win team of the year.  At the time she laughed, however the thought became fixated in our heads, driving us to win games.  The next year we were nominated for team of the year, not quite making it and the year after that we were nominated again, this time easily claiming it after our undefeated season.  The success of going from not even winning a set to finishing a season undefeated and winning team of the year is something that I think signifies how far the club has come over a period of three years and how far it can still go.  Despite being devastated to leave the club after all the effort that we have put into it, I am excited to see where it goes from here.

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